Sunday’s Spa for the Soul Review

By Eva Ettedgui

A Home for G‑d: Jewish Women Gather to Celebrate

Sunday November 16, 2008 at the Marriot Hotel in Oxnard, California, a community of close to 100 Jewish women gathered for a day of well deserved relaxation, inspiration, and celebration. The event was structured with three main events; the spa, the workshops and the luncheon.

    Attendance ranged from young high school girls full of grace and laughter to those distinguished with the wisdom of time and experience. Mothers, hopeful-mothers-to-be and grandmothers all kibitzed while enjoying warm foot baths and fine chocolates. The spa room was candle lit and scented, not a bad way to cue up for a massage, paraffin hand treatment, or reflexology in my book.

     The Mitzvah auction took place alongside the events, a beautiful concept and practice, where we all had a chance to bid for an array of precious items that are all part of a Jewish home in exchange for taking on a mitzvah. The Mitzvah auction touted an eloquent mezuzah, Shabbat paraphernalia, dinner for two at Tierra Sur Resturaunt, Jewish books, original lithograph Judaic art, and more. All the mitzvahs were related to the items at bid, for example, the winner of the book of 365 daily Meditations gleamed from the Rebbe's teachings took on the mitzvah of borrowing Jewish books from the Chabad library. Committing to taking on a mitzvah instead of bidding money for the treasure, I liken to Tzadakah in action, because rich or poor, we all can take action to improve the world!

     The Workshop choices for each woman were the soul of the spa and there were three to choose from: Challa Braiding, complete with history, meaning, prayer and technique, led by Rebbitzens Leah Lang & Shira Muchnik of Chabad of Camarillo, Stump the Rebbetzen, up to stump was Rebbetzen Sarah Latowitz, Chabad of Ventura, open to a wealth of curiosity and Jewish richness, Sarah shared her knowledge and wisdom, and finally Rebbetzen Racheli Muchnik, Chabad of Oxnard, led a workshop entitled CEO verses Homemaker?

     It was difficult to have to choose from the three amazing workshops, as I wanted to attend them all, but having attended the workshop CEO verses Homemaker, I must say was the highlight of the event for me. Racheli Muchnik is a wise and inspirational teacher. In this workshop we looked at the modern day challenges of the diverse roles of the Jewish Woman. This discussion brought understanding of this challenge by supporting its answers and discoveries as they relate to Creation and “G‑d’s Plan.” By bringing or attention to both the male and female roles and energies in the Creation of the world and looking at history from Creation to The Flood to Sinai and now on our way to Redemption, we received concrete tools and philosophical perspective in our decision making as women in diverse roles, ultimately working towards on every level, great and small, creating a home for G‑d. This was a very powerful workshop indeed.

     Lunch was fabulous and delicious, complete with an inspirational speech by Linda Cohen who spoke of her path to orthodoxy as an adult mother and wife. For dessert we were treated to song and dance led by the beautiful being and voice of Chaya'le Fogelman.

Harmony, hope, and a home for G‑d, we left rejuvenated and inspired to understand our power and role as Jewish women!